An Oklahoma Nightmare

Leashed from the continent, it flew—
on 20 May 2013—
and caught the currents of the airy blue—
colliding winds that swirled above—whirling.

Sweet Jesus, the tornado’s winds touched down
west of Newcastle, Oklahoma, at
2:45 pm, and stayed aground
for seventeen long miles fifty minutes!

On the Enhanced Fujita scale it reached five—
and at one point was wider than a mile—
a roaring, horrid, violent bee-hive
alive with vile energy gone wild.

And then, at Moore, at the Orr Fam’ly Farm
six dozen horses, plus some more, were killed;
and that was just the start of deadly harm—
two hundred miles per hour onward spilled

its wretched spin to homes and houses fenced,
to schools, establishments and businesses.
At least a dozen cars were stacked against
Moore Medical Center’s front entrance.

It flattened buildings in its twisted path,
then crossed the Interstate where cars were tossed
and littered all about; its deadly math—
hundreds were injured, twenty-four were lost.

Above 12,000 houses were destroyed,
or damaged; over 30,000 people hit,
a giant black wall of destructive void
of nature in a universal fit.

No thing within its way withstood its might.
It plowed down all with oceanic maw;
the energy contained within its bite
perhaps two hundred times Hiroshima.


On Evan Mantyk

I have enormous admiration for the man,
because of what he’s trying to accomplish now,
creating a poetic portal. It’s his plan
to be conduit for American verse. How
could anyone do such a thing? It is too large.
And yet he’s trying it—with family in tow.
“Row, Mantyk, row.” Row on in this fantastic barge.
Th’ ideals of youth are inspiring, if futile,
breathtaking, if hopeless. Still, they are what will forge
the fresh, th’ invigorating, new, the beautiful,
the good, and true. The little engine who dares, can
[like Don Quixote tilting at whirring windmills],
by trying the impossible, infuse the real.


Alecsei Budrew 

Heartsick, I pondered this dark mystery of life.
I wondered, yes, poor people, o, what do we want?
The sky is clear, and under it ‘s a place, a slice
for each of us. But endlessly we fight and flaunt
our needless battles. Why? Rus interrupted me,
my reverie. He struck my shoulder, hard and gaunt.
What is this place’s name? He answered, “Valerik,”
translated in your language—”river of the dead.”


Hernán Cortés

Hernán Cortés, the conqueror of Mexico
and founder of the colony New Spain, was born
in Medellín, Estremadura, long ago,
like 1485. He left law and his home
in order to become a colonist abroad.
He served Diego Velásquez in uniform
to conquer Cuba. Later on, he was ordered
to lead an expedition to the Yucatán,
investigating rumoured, rich discoveries.
He gained Tobasco, founded Veracruz, and planned,
and executed daringly, though not alone,
the conquest of the Aztecs and Tenochtitlán.

Bruce Dale Wise is a poet living in Washington State.

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